I don’t reveal it often, but I have a secret talent: talking in voices. I’m a pretty fair imitator both of people’s voices and of accents.
Some talent, huh? It rarely comes in handy … except when reading to my girls, and only for certain books. But let’s face it: books can really come alive if they’re read as if the actual characters are talking (hence why audio book narrators don’t speak only in their everyday voice).
Bonus: reading this way keeps the books fresh … since we all know kids like to read their favorite books 37 times in a row before moving to a new one. Fun for them, not so much fun for the parents.
Here are my favorite books to read in various voices to my girls. What are yours?
We have a great set of older Sesame Street letter books – 26, obviously, which we got second hand. If you find a set somewhere, BUY THEM! Everyone here loves them, and the back covers all form a bonus puzzle. R and C are my favorite.
C Is For Cookie is best read in Cookie Monster’s wacky monster voice, of course! Trouble is, it’s a really throaty sound that’s hard to keep up for more than one read-through. But if you master this voice, it can be a great distraction if you need to get your kid’s attention … or ask them if they want a cookie, I guess.
Ernie’s Riddle is another fun one because I get to do both Ernie’s and Bert’s very distinct voices: Bert’s almost Peewee Herman-esque sound and Ernie’s soft very Muppety voice. They’re so distinct that I don’t even say the speaker tags anymore. It’s like reading a play!
This is Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. This is an ooooold book my sister and I had as kids. I generally (brace yourself) dislike everything Pooh, but I love reading this to my girls because I get to make Christopher Robin have an British accent, Eeyore sound perennially down in the dumps, and Pooh sound quite confused. Very entertaining!
Of course Toddler likes the Angelina Ballerina series of books (she’s a ballet nut!). This is Angelina Ballerina and the Dance of Friendship. What’s great about this series? Not much except you can give Miss Lilly, the dance teacher from Dacovia (read: some sort of ex-Soviet state), a great Russian accent. Believe it or not, this is my husband’s second favorite book to read (after The Cat in the Hat).
This is the ultimate book to read aloud!! There are ten or twelve disgruntled crayon colors in this book, and they’ve each written letters to the main character. Your job is to read the letters in a unique voice – sound hard? Nah – panting for exhausted and stubby blue, mellow and namby-pamby for invisible white, sugary sweet for pink, gruff and rough for angry black … you get the picture. READ THIS BOOK!!!
Have you read any of these books aloud? Which others do you enjoy?